A HARD-hitting TV documentary has found West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police are screening out nearly a third of all reported crimes.
Research by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme ‘Lawless Britain: Where are the Police?’ screened on Monday showed 31.21 per cent of crimes in the force area – and 32 per cent in Warwickshire – were logged but not investigated.
In the programme criminologist Martin Innes warned criminal damage and vehicle crimes were ‘gateway offences’, used to launch criminal careers.
“That’s the kind of thing where people learn how to commit crime, they learn the lifestyle, they learn the contacts they need to disperse the stuff they steal,£ he said.
“And we know from pretty good evidence that if people engage in these kinds of gateway type offences and if they are not caught and intercepted then they are more likely to go on and continue to offend at greater levels and engage in more serious forms of crime.”
Fears were expressed that failure to investigate crimes could lead to disillusionment from the public and incidents not being reported, resulting in the police building up a false picture of crime in their area.
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said he was committed to putting victims first, ensuring they received an efficient and effective service.
“West Mercia Police deals with around 9,000 calls per week and unfortunately some will sometimes fall below this standard,” he said.
“I will continue to hold the Chief Constable to account ensuring West Mercia Police have the resources to deliver the service our communities expect.”
Chief Superintendent David Gardner from Warwickshire Police said: “Every offence reported to us is assessed for the potential threat, harm and risk to the public and property. Resources are then allocated appropriately based on demand.
“Whilst we strive to provide the best possible level of service there are instances where police may choose not to investigate lower level cases where there isn’t a prospect of a criminal justice outcome and the time spent on the investigation would not be proportionate.
“However if further evidence later becomes available the investigation can be re-screened and may be reopened.”
According to the latest available figures across England and Wales, more than a quarter of crimes – 27 per cent – were screened out with some forces like Bedfordshire and Greater Manchester screening out 40 per cent of cases.